Gabriel Obertan

Newcastle United's first team stars will help youngsters across the area learn foreign languages, thanks to a new initiative.

The Club's charity - Newcastle United Foundation - has teamed up with Routes Into Languages and Newcastle City Council to launch Double Club, a scheme which encourages children to study languages including French, German and Spanish through football-related activities.

Classroom learning will be reinforced through sessions delivered by Newcastle United Foundation coaches, and winger Gabriel Obertan kick-started the programme on Monday (26th September) with a visit to Armstrong School at Excelsior Academy, Scotswood.

The summer signing joined a lucky group of Year 7 students for a French lesson where students quizzed him on all things French in his native language.

Obertan said: "It was a pleasure to come into the school and help the children learn French.

"It is very important for young people to speak different languages, and as a footballer it has certainly been a big help to me throughout my career." 

Two schools in Newcastle - Excelsior and Kenton - will be the first to receive a free course which includes classroom-based language lessons and football coaching in French, German and Spanish.

The resources which have been produced will then be made available free of charge to other schools in the region who can register to receive the study packs.

Programme co-ordinator for the Foundation, Andrew Foster, said: "Double Club is a fantastic addition to the Foundation's range of educational programmes.

"We have worked hard with our partners Routes into Languages and Newcastle City Council to produce a fantastic set of resources for Modern Foreign Language teachers to use in school to inspire students to study a foreign language at a higher level."

Lynn Atchison, head of Armstrong School in Excelsior Academy, said: "We already know the Foundation through hosting a range of the education programmes they offer, so we were delighted to sign up to Double Club.

"With the numbers of pupils choosing to study a foreign language we need all the help we can get to recruit more learners, and using Newcastle United-based resources and Foundation staff will be the perfect combination."

And Nick Johnston, Routes into Languages North East project manager, added: "Languages are extremely important for all young people growing up in today's globalised world, and this exciting new initiative will help to show students in the North-East that foreign languages are relevant in all walks of life and not just in the confines of the classroom."

Double Club will run during October and November and will culminate in a behind-the-scenes tour of St. James' Park for all participants. The teaching resources will then be made available for other teachers to use as part of their teaching. To register your interest email foundation@nufc.co.uk